Evolutionary inquiries rise from May’s mire. From moon-struck chanteuse ANE BRUN’s nuanced brooding and flickering intimacy, “It All Starts with One,” to hard-swinging guitarist STEPHANE WREMBEL’s gypsy-jazz razzle-dazzle, “Origins,” it all begins somewhere. Proceed eagerly to Austin’s six-string slingers THE YOUNG’s scorching, indelibly incredible, “Dub Egg,” before transitioning into charismatic snake-charmer CHARLENE KAYE’s slick, soulful pop-moxie, “Animal Love.” May’s marvelous musical ark unloads freakish creature features alongside finely feathered flights.
The Cribs - In The Belly of the Brazen Bull
Album title: In The Belly of the Brazen Bull
Record Label: Witchita Recordings
Cage-rattling factories spewing wicked ballistic ballads, “Belly,” staggers, captures and beautifully bashes majestic mosh-pit rock, toppling unstoppable sincerity, crackling melodies and fist-thrusting courage for sizzling missiles lobbed straight into delirious miracles. Back to the original three brother line-up, The Cribs’ rip-roaring chords, needling riffs, anxious bass and thunderous drums stir caterwauling cauldrons into directly vexing tension mounting restlessly perplexing connections.
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Cory Branan - Mutt
Album title: Mutt
Record Label: Bloodshot Records
Six years since his last full-length - Memphis-bred songwriter Branan’s greasy ease with table-turning wit, scrappy toe-tappers and husky-voiced hosannas polishes tarnished carnage from broken Romeos and saddle-sore Cinderellas. Grizzled whispers undercut raging impatience peppering renegade serenades and Tex-Mex sketches, “Mutt,” skulks behind sobering dobros, E Street orchestrations and wistful strings for endearing dog-eared diplomacy, despondent correspondence and whip-smart country-rock.
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Sean Bones - Buzzards Boy
Album title: Buzzards Boy
A supernatural marriage of big hooks soaked in friendly chemistry, “Buzzards,” brims with polished tropical obstacles trapping crafty afterthoughts. Upbeat outbreaks and laid-back ransacks beam beat-sweet hippie trips grooving to savvy showmanship. Rafter-crashing bedroom pop, slippery indie-rock and revved-up modern reggae contribute to the blue sky vibe hatching fissionable visions Bones knits together with daring flair and festooned savoir faire.
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Carina Round - Tigermending
Album title: Tigermending
Record Label: DEHISCE
A shape-shifting feng shui diva, ably conveying threatening temptress and demure insurgent, Round releases predatory stories elaborating sweet, sinister opinions behind grinding electro-pop and doe-eyed art-rock. Divided hearts and conflicting instincts coyly uncoil dancing hammers inside gossamer possibilities as “Tigermending,” morphs into damned glam, mad theatrics and avenging epiphanies, deliciously assisted by imagineers Brian Eno, Billy Corgan and Dave Stewart
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Orcas - Orcas
Album title: Orcas
Record Label: Morr Music
Subtle buzz and plane hangar tranquility fill drip-dry horizons under foreign shores, shuttling stoic vocals between mild reassurance and narcoleptic fogs. Aerosol squalls crawl evaporating into honeycomb overtones and worm-hole twilight zones, enveloping webs of crackling tapestries suspended in ambient somnambulance and aqueous ballets. Sparse architects designing artful accidents, Orcas’ ominous chronicles become translucent moods floating motionless under sedated gazes.
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Hollows - Vulture
Album title: Vulture
Record Label: Trouble In Mind
Subverting flirty girl-group goop into razor-sharp punk-pop spunk and organ-driven rock and roll, Hollows’ tough chick grit, wound-licking love songs and cheeky bee-hive hand-jive concoct bite-sized blasts of surf-rock rumble, lipstick lambasts and pajama party harmonies. Leathery electric boardwalks flashing retro-active packages, “Vulture,” circles Tin Pan Alley pasts while carving tart B-52 grooves from Suzi Quatro quatrains and Shangri-Las facades
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One more step up that evolutionary ladder, music-lovers witness bewitching listens. Whether post-Bound Stems members LIKE PIONEER’s clattering happiness, “Oh Magic,” or street poet and bluesy soothsayer WILLIS EARL BEAL’s rickety mysteries and crooked incantations, “Acousmatic Sorcery,” literate wizards deliver. Amazing changes paint polyrhythmic mistress SANTIGOLD’s short-circuited circus, “Master of My Make Believe,” and alt-country alchemist PATRICK WATSON’s sophisticated voodoo ingenuity, “Adventures in Your Own Backyard.” While not implicit in their titles both Mali guitarist SIDI TOURE’s spirited celebration, “Koima,” and Canadian cyber-surgeon CFCF’s imaginative meditations, “Exercises,” cast masterful spells.